Since 2002, when Columbia Pictures first released a live version of the popular comic book superhero Spider-Man, the franchise has been re-booted twice. This latest version by Jon Watts ("Cop Car") spares us the complete origin story about the spider bite etc. Thankfully!


Watts then cast an actor who is closer to the 15-year old age of the comic book Spider-Man in 21-year old Tom Holland who got his big screen boost my nuzzling up to Naomi Watts in J.A. Bayona's disaster flick "The Impossible" (2012). Hollands creds got another boost in the little seen but fairly decent "How I Live Now" (2013) and then Ron Howard's "In the Heart of the Sea" (2015).


With no experience directing superhero type, CGI laden, action films, Watts did the next best thing: hire a bunch of top tier talent to pull together a wobbly story and let the CGI wizards loose. The result is a decent continuation of the Marvel Universe as they head toward a presumed confrontation with the Justice League.

The new Spider-Man was introduced as the latest recruit for the Avengers in "Captain America: Civil War"; remember Tony Stark/Iron Man recruited him as he flirted with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). He presented himself well, but ultimately got his butt handed to him while realizing hero stuff was harder than it looked.


So he was sent home under the tutelage of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau); his cover for school is that he is a Stark's Industries Internship. In actuality, Starks has him registered as beginner level superhero.


Holland is fun as he fumbles his way through thwarting crimes, or what he thinks are crimes; he stops a guy from breaking into his own car and nearly kills his favorite shopkeeper when he stops a bank ATM heist. Meanwhile he's got a huge crush on the super cute girl in his class Liz (Laura Harrier) and trying to hide his identity from his nosy best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon).

Down the street, a new villain is emerging in the likes of Michael Keaton's Adrian Toones, a scavenger who was making a decent living cleaning up the alien crap from the Ultron experiments. Ouch, the fed take the job from him and hand it over to Stark's Industries which infuriates Toomes. But he and his crew have already purloined some of the alien material and design compact superweapons to use for their various heists. Toomes fashions himself a winged flying suit and calls himself Vulture.


He has a plan to completely rob Starks of the resto of the alien stuff as well as whatever goodies might be laying around but, you guessed it, Spider-Man keeps getting in the way. Not successfully mind you, but just enough to piss off the bad guy.


As Peter Parker, things get intense as he and Liz start to steam it up, but life gets confusing when they have to go to Washington DC for a brainiac championship showdown and Peter is the ringer for his school. But the Vulture is also in DC. Hmph.


Watts does a great job of developing Parker's student life equally with his Spider-Man persona. He dangles another girl Michelle (Zendaya) as a smart allecky competitor to Liz. Tony Revolini does okay as the kid you hate Flash while Ned is fun a wide-eyed buddy who lives vicariously through Parker. Holland works very well, much better than the 30-something Andrew Garfield who was clearly too old and the aging Toby Maguire.


But leave it to Michael Keaton to give you a subdued but nevertheless well nuanced bad guy in Vulture. He has played Batman (the best Batman) and Birdman, so why not the a mechanical flying villain. He is surrounded by the perfect incompetent assistants, especially Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine), that make him that more amusing.


However, they writers never mention how and why the Vulture and his minions were intelligent enough to invent their super weapons. Moreover, there were quite a few plot holes that got swept under the carpet and detract from the film.


"Super-Man: Homecoming" fits well in the newly defined Marvel Universe with a multilayered but lighter, refreshing hero in Tom Holland and a veteran performance by Michael Keaton.   -- GEOFF BURTON